Here comes the Thursday edition (on a Friday for a change). For those who are interested, I had a fun time wandering around ol’ London town, but now let’s get back to serious business, the FFL!
Games this weekend
@ Gent – 12:00 – Brussels Black Angels (1-1) v Brussels Bulls (1-1)
Since 2000 : Black Angels 4, Bulls 0
Last match : April 4, 2010 – @ St. Agatha – Black Angels 50, Bulls 0
The Angels can certainly take heart from their tough loss to the Tribes, but quite possibly no team was as impressive on Sunday as the Bulls. The team from St. Agatha will be trying to score their first ever victory against their crosstown rivals, and they might just have the gameplan to do it.
If the Bulls can draw in the Angels secondary by pounding the ball hard up the middle, and then throw in a few play action deep passes, I can see this causing havoc for the Angels. The Tribes had most of their success with long passes on Sunday – the question then becomes can the Bulls offensive line hold up against the pressure of the Black Angels defensive line and blitzers like LB Vrancken and LB Fiquet?
As for the Angels offense, they found their rhythm for the most part in the second half last week, just lacking some finishing around the goal line and the ball which was too often on the ground, resulting in turnovers. Killens proved himself a very capable quarterback and the one-two punch of RBs Sarta and Trouillez almost brought the Angels all the way back. It’s going to take a big effort from the Angels offensive line as this is playing right into the strength of the Bulls tough front seven.
@ Gent – 15:00 – Antwerp Diamonds (1-1)* v Gent Gators (0-2)
Since 2000 : Diamonds 7, Gators 2
Last match : April 4, 2010 – @ St. Agatha – Gators 48, Diamonds 12
Gent were very close to knocking off the Titans away last week, and they did it with solid defense. Just one long run from the Beast and one fumble recovery was all that stood between the Gators and a famous victory. This week they’re at home, and will be looking for another improved performance against the Diamonds.
There was definite improvement all over the field from Gent, their week off did them good, as they looked more assured both on offense and defense as they had two weeks before. The offensive line were more settled and QB Van Melder was more calm in the pocket. Also their defense was much more impactful, thanks to LB Richard. RB/S/QB Jolie gives the Gators a wildcard which can be used at any time, and did my eyes decieve me (I was about 80 yards away at the time), or did I see the old “quarterback-talks-to-his-WR-direct-snap-to-the-RB” play? Antwerp’s young secondary would be well advised to keep their eyes open and to expect the unexpected.
Gent’s defense won’t have it all easy either as the Diamonds boast their very own “Slash”, Michael Vervaet, who can catch, throw, run, block and punt. However, we all know that Antwerp are mostly a running team, now with an extra dimension of QB Keymolen’s scampers around the outside. It’s going to be a matter of staying disciplined in both defenses.
@ Leuven – 12:00 – Limburg Shotguns (0-0)* v West Flanders Tribes (1-0)
Since 2000 : Tribes 1, Shotguns 0
Last match : April 4, 2010 – @ Bornem – Tribes 33, Shotguns 6
This is a tough one to review properly as I haven’t seen the Shotguns play this season. All I really know about them are a couple of snippets from their game* against Antwerp, which were that their QB is one to watch, as well as their TE #22. This would seem to indicate a passing team, which is not neccessarily a good match up with the Tribes.
The Tribes boast a shutdown corner in CB Vanmarcke and a couple of LBs who can really bring the pressure from the outside in Ryckelynck and Jamin. If the Shotguns want to pass, they’ll need to protect extremely well, keeping an extra back or tight end in if required.
As for the Tribes offense, they’ll be looking for some more cohesion. The new-look offensive line played pretty well against the Angels, but they’ll hope to get more from their skill players than they got in the second half last week.
@ Leuven – 15:00 – Bornem Titans (2-0) v Leuven Lions (1-2)
Since 2000 : Titans 4, Lions 3
Last match : April 4, 2010 – @ Bornem – Titans 34, Lions 0
The word coming from the Lions last week was that they were so disappointed with their effort. They were certainly a few players down for their game against the Bulls, but you should at least be able to expect all the players on the field to give their all. We’ll see how the coaches of the Lions are able to fire them up for this most important game – if the Lions lose, they’ll drop to 1-3 which would almost certainly exclude them from any playoff discussions.
The Titans have really only done the minimum this year – surviving two squeakers against Antwerp and Gent despite only scoring two offensive touchdowns total in those games. However, as we all now, championship teams win ugly, so this can only be good news for the many Titans fans.
Having said that, it’s about time we saw a cohesive Titans offense. It’ll be up to their offensive line to neutralise the Lions strong front seven and allow their playmakers WR Vermeir and RB Steenackers to do their thing.
Man v Machine
Due to the fact that there is still no decision in the Antwerp v Limburg saga*, the computer is still unable to make predictions. However, I can.
I have Black Angels by 3, Diamonds by 7, Tribes by 14 and Titans by 17.
Clinton Cochrane, Melbourne, Australia
“You have to supply a ambulance over there mate? Very professional. I remember waiting at Frankston Hospital for 3 hours to get stitches in my first year with the Seahawks.”
Yeah mate, it’s all professional here! For those who don’t know, the Southern Seahawks in Melbourne were my first team. I even scored the first touchdown in team history, I believe we lost our first game 81-6!
“Solution Z (to the problem of Antwerp v Limburg); Move the teams to near a hospital!”
How about they just play the games in the emergency ward?
Jimmy Dupont, Brussels
“Thank you, finally we have a real football reporter. Since you first published your reports I’ve been an addict, every monday and thursday I’m waiting to read your reports/mailbag. This could be the way to improve and promote the game we all love”
Finally someone not talking about ambulances and hospitals! Nah, happy to do it. We’ll see what we can do about that improving and promoting though.
So, time to get this mailbag out there. Have a good game on sunday if you have one, and if you’re not a player or coach but a fan, go and check out your team on the weekend – I’m sure they’ll appreciate your support.
* I didn’t use the word in the column itself but a good Aussie word for the mess surrounding Ambulance-gate there in Leopoldsburg is “shermozzle”.